Very little, you might think. After all, one’s a pioneering creative working in the pay of some of the most powerful, feared and megalomaniacal individuals of his day, and the other is a Venetian Renaissance painter.
One answer could be the one suggested by Ryan on the Lib Dem Voice internal mailing list*, that no-one knows exactly how old they are. The other and not unrelated answer is that CCHQ appears to have it in for both of them. The BBC, under the treasurable headline “Tories admit to Wiki-alteration“, report the following:
During exchanges at prime minister’s questions, the Tory leader mocked Mr Brown for talking of Titian at 90, when he said in fact he had died age 86.
Shortly afterwards a Wikipedia user registered at Tory HQ moved his birth date forward by four years.
The party admitted an “over-eager” member of staff had been responsible.
Ah, the old over-zealous researcher, one of the most useful figures in the Westminster Village. Although in this case, perhaps CCHQ were a bit quick to reach for the standard comeback, because all things being equal the zealous researcher in question is not only zealous, but stupid. Paul Waugh in the Standard, who had the story first and who initially reported it much as the Beeb does, has this intriguing twist:
A close check of the Wiki history shows that Titian was originally listed as having an age of 91 (born1485, died 1576), Then some bod from Sutton changed it at 1229pm to 88 (born 1488 died 1576) and THEN the Tory official changed it – not to Cameron’s claim of 86 – but to 82 (born 1490 died 1572). Poor old Titian lost nine years in a matter of minutes.
And Cameron lost his Slytherin House Debating Trophy 2009. So is this zealotry tempered with stupidity or sabotage? And in the interests of public information, would the bod from Sutton, if they’re reading, please stand up?
Anyway, Waugh also has the piece of information that clinches the connection between a four-hundred year old Italian and the Lib Dem Head of Innovations:
How do we know this? Well the ip address for the change 126.96.36.199 – which seems to be that of CCHQ.
A quick search on iplocation shows that the above address is listed Conservative Central Office, London, UK.
And this be the selfsame IP address as wot originated the following comment on Lib Dem Voice last year:
I would hate to live in Dr Packs bitter world of bile [sic]
And that’s coming from CCHQ, mind.
*Where we pull stuff together and sort stuff out, or at least hold stuff up and jabber excitedly about it for a bit before dropping it back onto the heap. The occasional attempts of opposition bloggers to imply that LDV is some kind of superslick party mouthpiece “co-ordinated” by the above-mentioned Dr Pack cause me no end of amusement.
In a way one’s sorry it isn’t true – it would mean that things like today’s 6pm pile-up of four posts within ten minutes of each other after a three hour gap would merely be a very cunning double blind, and not, in fact, the result of a thoroughgoing and cheerfully entrenched lack of co-ordination. This is the trouble with being unique liberal snowflakes. Great as an approach to public services reform, plays merry hell with publishing schedules.